Saturday, March 30, 2013

Antidote to Myopia

You might not have every other life that you wish to have.

This is often seen as a curse.

Concentrating on those things and experiences we do not have feels bad.

Yet, we still have our own lives.  Those lives we inhabit.  Our particular idiosyncratic stories and memories.   They are with and without cliche, completely unique.

They are probably the only things we have that are completely unique.

But at least they are existent.

I mean this in the most positive aspect I can.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Stay Light (i.e. Superficial)

The capacity to stay superficial when faced with daunting facts or circumstances is often under-rated, mostly because we see the concept of superficiality as superfluous and unnecessary and pejoratively.  It is an insult, mostly.  If someone is superficial, that person is bad.  We purport to value deep people, folks who can delve, who walk the walk, so to speak.

The consequence of this is that we spend a lot of time trying to appear meaningful, and at times suppress what could be fine thoughts that might otherwise appear to be superficial.

The other consequence is that we, as in me, can be overly harsh on ourselves, mostly because we see a lot of the popcorn thoughts we have as throw-away, as fluffy meaningless fodder, thoughts that do not purport to align with the architecture of meaning that we value.

And that's good in a way because a lot of thoughts are meaningless, and bad in a way because we might make errors and not know that we're making those errors. That is also bad because it makes us rigid and inflexible, and mostly, it serves to confirm what we already knew were deep thoughts.  It stifles creativity because we're already pre-filtering what we will evaluate further and value more.  We're being charlatans with ourselves all the time, in other words.

And that probably cuts both ways, sure, in that we don't just want to adopt any idea that comes along, or become so flexible that we have no standards, but I think it is probably much harder to try to accept a seemingly superficial idea as deep, and evaluate it as if it is has great meaning that takes time to understand, than to dismiss it outright.  This makes me uncomfortable (my advice to evaluate that which we don't like or understand as if we should and really do like it and can eventually understand it), but it is important....

Monday, March 25, 2013

Alcohol Use and Couples

A Quick Guest Post and Request:

    My name is CJ and I am a graduate student in psychology. I am currently seeking couples to participate in my dissertation research which focuses on a partner's role in a person's decision to seek help for alcohol use. I am interested in hearing from people at all levels of alcohol use (for some people even one drink is too many, while others draw the line at different levels) and from people at all levels of seeking help (ranging from not considering it up through regular meeting attendance or treatment). If you and your partner disagree about alcohol use, please consider participating so that we can better understand the role of the family in alcohol use issues. The study has a component for both partners, and is completely online and anonymous. Please click on the link for more information about eligibility and the nature of the study. 

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Abuse vs. Loneliness

Let's say you had a great friend.  A friend so great that, no matter what happened between the two of you, you could never honestly tell this person to fuck off, not if you had a cool head.  In other words, no matter what kind of shit you told each other, there would be a bedrock of something much thicker than the verbiage flung.  And that bedrock would be evident each time you'd go crawling back to each other, NOT, with your tail between your legs, but because your relationship is noticeably solid, as in: you get each other.  Fundamentally.  When you're together, you are not alone.  You are sensitive to one another's proclivities.  You feel understood and respected, most of the time. You love this person as intimately as you are allowed to love someone else (this is not sexual and not romantic).

It just happens that every year or two, this relationship skids out of control, and comments are strewn about that are not very nice.  They're mean.  They're mean comments and they are manipulative and extremely crafty.  So crafty that you have to digest their full craftiness, their full impact, over many days, before you even understand how goddman crafty they are.  All of the goodness that was typically propelled into humor and insight and connection was used, in these comments, to hurt.  To maim.  To show pain experienced.  To twist the knife in and force you to speak, goddamnit, speak, and say how enjoyable the pain is.  To be convoluted and to become a mockery.

And yet.  The relationship is real.  The bedrock remains.

What do you do when you know that both sides exist, and both exist clearly, without ambiguity or hope that that one may cease.  Do you chose relative loneliness or do you chose to go back into potential hits of abuse (mental, not physical)?  I'm not helpless.  I'm asking a question.

And let's face it that for some of us (like me), life is incredibly lonely to start, and there are only a handful of people who I've ever even connected with in the first place.

What's the right move?

Friday, March 22, 2013

First Few Days of Sobriety

I've been sober for more than two and a half years.  Still feels like it was yesterday that I tried, failed, and tried again, out of necessity. But it wasn't, actually, yesterday.  And there are lots of folks posting on different entries about their first few days (one example is below).  And I'd like to stress a few points about the first days of sobriety.

1) They are harder than consistent long-term sobriety because one's body must adjust to vastly different units of fuel.  If you're a long term heavy drinker, it means that you're "eating" your alcohol, and you have physical dependency.  When you quit, you may experience symptoms of severe withdrawal that could become medical in nature.  Don't hesitate if you think you should seek the advice of a doctor or go to the emergency room.

2)  For goodness sake, EAT.  EAT A LOT.  Eat, in particular, foods high in good fats and not that many carbs.

3) Drink black tea.  Don't be afraid.  With lemon.  Pretend you are sick and need nourishment (you are).

4) Don't think about not drinking.  Think about what you care about.  Playing the guitar?  Listening to music?  Reading?  Whatever it is that gets you going outside of alcohol.

5) Find a way to walk more often.  It reduces stress and anxiety.

6) Don't try to do too much.

7) Don't worry if you don't want to go to AA.  Here's why AA works: if you believe in it, it works.  Whatever you can believe in, works.  Believing in something increases awareness and confidence.

8) Good luck

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "What Happens When You Stop Drinking?": 

3 days in 3 hours....spent the last two days reading every post here. I relate to almost all of them. Day 1 and 2 not terrible but now on day 2 plus I've been eating everything in sight and my afternoon nap turned into an all afternoon nap. My workout routine was painful but I got through it. I read about Vitamin B and D here but not sure how much to take. I bought b complex and d 5000. I took one of each tonight. I had to drive by the liquor store to get it and it was mildly tough to get past that. I just try to remember how bad I feel after drinking both physically and mentally guilty. I'm just trying to focus on getting through each day now and not being too hard on myself for sleeping more or eating a little bit more. I've drank heavily since I was 16. I'm now 46. In the last 7 years I've been drinking everyday and at least 3 heavy drinks. For a period it was 1 - 2 bottles of wine because that was suppose to be healthier right? I don't know why I made it this far. Successful in my love life, career but maybe not in building friendships. I used to be a big extrovert and have grown to be a huge introvert. Blah Blah Blah.....I love this blog and it really helped me get this far anyhow. 3 more hours, then onto day 3 plus moving toward 4. Will I make it a week? The weekend is going to be a huge test. Saw some people say Pizza helps. I find that funny. Pizza helps with everything and after eating pizza they are right, I'm too full to think about drinking! Perhaps some pizza is on order for the entire weekend. I'll let you know and when my brain stops spinning I will be more clear in communicating my thoughts on this blog. I hope to continue to see others keep writing. AA is a good place for support but I feel like it's their way or I'm a failure and won't fit in. I don't want to hold hands in a circle and pray. Just saying it's not me so pretending that is me would drive me to drink! 

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Friend of a Friend of a Friend

Went into rehab.  Came out, went into a bar.  Came out, went back to rehab.

Came out.  Now what?

Try again.

I want to tell you that you are not letting anyone but yourself down.  There's a funny self-selection process for sobriety.  Here it is: If you've thought that you should quit drinking, you probably should.

Whether you do is entirely another question.  But the risk isn't worth it, in my eyes.  Here's why.  If you become a full blown alcoholic, it will be much less likely that you'll be able to stop at that point. You'll inhale alcohol and shit out pure venom.

You can live with yourself, sure, but why would you?

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Scared of Sobriety? You're Not Alone

Recent comment below.  How will I have fun?  Connect to my husband? Keep living my life?  I know ALCOHOL is a serious problem, but so many reasons to quit AND SO MANY REASONS TO KEEP ON DRINKING.

I don't disagree.  What you'll find upon a decent amount of time of sobriety, is that your preferences will change.  Your tastes will change.  If preferences and tastes are what link us to others, those others will have to become dynamic and grow as well.

Genuine personal growth is not something that should alienate marriages.  If it does, the marriage is the problem.

"This is my fifth night sober. Been drinking heavily, and I mean to thr point of passing out, at least 4 nights out of the week for the past 15 years. I've held down high position/high stress jobs all the while rolling into work either so foggy I couldn't perform throughout the day or still slightly drunk from the night before. I'd lead business meetings and not have a clue of what I had just said. Met my fiance three years ago and he slowly pulled me out of the bar scene (kicking and screaming - not literally). But in the meantime I introduced him to my nasty lifestyle (tons of booze/ocassional coke). I think he felt as long as we were doing it at home and we were together then what was the harm? Over the past 1.5 yrs we've now turned into a couple who comes home and 'unwinds' with several drinks. I'll talk about quitting/he'lk talk about quitting and then one of us will eventually cave. "We're so weak!" We'd cackle with laughter. "Oh well. Tomorrow will be different." Except last Tuesday was my tomorrow and all of a sudden a switch has been flipped in me (part of my wake up call came from a blood test that said my bad cholesterol was high. I askef the nurse what the main cause could be and she said alcohol abuse. Oops. I recommend anyone getting this test. It could be the scare you need). I let my fiance know I was going to stop and he of course naturally said "me too". Except he's brought it up grabbing some cocktails a couple of times. I dont think he understands I mean business. I have a TON of fears but I think the biggest is our potential not to connect like we so often did (perhaps superficiously) while drinking. Does anyone have experience with this? What was the outcome? BTW regardless it will not change my mind. I have got to do this for myself or I can never ve the person I know that is inside of me, waiting to break free." 

Thursday, March 14, 2013


Funny thing, our minds.  They're capable of understanding a great deal of sophistication, but given time restraints (and other pressures), they thin out into fast acting machines of impulse.

Insert appropriate parameters of high level conceptual understanding.

Ram unshaven rust-fringed ford f-150 truck into parametric fragility.

Enjoy smothering whimpering sounds.  Downshift.

Insert appropriate aphorism.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

What Would God Want?

If there's a western God in the way that many of us believe that there is, what would God want?

Why would God want anything?

God seems to be totally outside of the idea of any incentives.  Why wouldn't God lay on the proverbial couch all day?  If God is all knowing and all powerful and created EVERYTHING, why does God care about anything?

God already knows everything and everything that will be.  Why care?  Why does God care?

If the system is a hybrid, if God sets up the conditions and sets things up, then why would God  step in to change them if they weren't going the way God wanted.  It must mean, if God has that power, that God has all power, not just half power to set up games and see how they play out.  If that's the case, God already knows every possibility and has infinite time to play with all possibilities if God wants... I still don't know the reason for God to want, though.

I think the view of God as a CEO is misguided, in other words.  God is often a CEO with eyes and ears and ultimate control, and the company the CEO governs is merely a figment of the CEO's imagination.

Why should we imagine that we matter to God?

If you answer that question with either a) yes we matter or b) no we don't matter, what does that answer have anything to do with how we should act?

To be clear: I want to believe that God cares. I want to believe in God.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Fear Of Speaking One's Mind

I'm not sure why this is such a big fear.

I think generally the answer is that we, as people, get outraged quite easily, and so speaking unedited can result in outraging others.

Outrage seems to be there to trigger group  cohesion, i.e. if we're outraged at the same thing, we must be on a team and can trust one another more.

It still sucks that it is so hard to speak one's mind in a way that isn't intended to be malicious but can often be perceived as exactly that: with intent and hurtful.

Which is not to say that sometimes we are unintentionally hurtful and it is still our fault since we should have known better.  But I'm not talking about those times so much, as just the general ease of conversation possible between two people and the way we guard and select our thoughts to appease (at least I do this often) the other person more so than if we were speaking to someone else...

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

"The Road"

I'm not so clinical as to hold skepticism over the always pervading metaphor of life as a journey (as opposed to happenstance, random events that we tag together as narrative).  AND, because journeys queue romantic ideals, it is often tempting to see life as some sort of linear progression.  Which is also to say that if you've been somewhere, you won't be back there, exactly, again.  You don't really go back.  Or if you do, it is clear, anyway.  Ah, exit 34, where I binge drink for five weeks straight and become estranged from my parents!  Yep, I know that one.

Consider a misty confused world, when you don't know where you are.  You're not sure what the exit reads.  You don't know how far you've come.  You're not lost, but you're certainly not found, and you have no idea where you want to go.

I find it useful to think of progression, though I hold a few caveats.

Caveat number 1:  It is really exceedingly easy to traipse upon ground you've traipsed on before and not recognize it.  Which is to say that we have to stay constantly curious and aware, and that we don't really learn everything we need to know, necessarily, the first or second time we experience an event.   It is hard to stay patient, by the way.

Caveat number 2: We don't know where we're going.  We won't ever get there.  But the journey and the idea that we're going somewhere is still really important.

Caveat number 3: Since there's no beginning and no end, comparisons to other people's positions are largely irrelevant.

Caveat number 4: There may or may not be an invisible hand.  Sometimes, though, it is nice to feel like something is "meant" to be.  This is a feeling we should indulge in rarely, as it is often delusion.

Caveat number 5: Knowing something conceptually and knowing it experientially allows such a wide definition of "knowing" that I am not convinced these are the same objects at all.

Caveat number 6:  To some degree we create our own reality.  It is only to a degree, though, and forgetting this will lead back to delusion

Hope number 1: Other people can share in beautiful events.

Hope number 2:  We can be inspired even and especially after horrible loss.

Hope number 3: The possibility exists that everything will get exponentially better at any random juncture in time, and that all suffering will be validated, but repeating this phrase too often leads to judgmentalism and hypocrisy, as well as laziness.  Hope number 3 is for clarity within bliss: for the ideal of fractured ideals that hold images of reality in their seams.